AskDefine | Define bong

Dictionary Definition

bong v : ring loudly and deeply; "the big bell bonged"

User Contributed Dictionary



Etymology 1



  1. A clang of a large bell.
  2. Door bell chimes.
A clang of a large bell
Door bell chimes


  1. to pull a bell.
  2. to ring a doorbell.

Etymology 2

From (baung, bông), a marijuana pipe.


bong (bongs)
  1. A vessel, usually made of glass or ceramic and filled with water, used in smoking various substances; esp. marijuana.
A vessel used in smoking various substances

Etymology 3


  1. A very wide piton.



  1. Nighttime.
  2. Dark.
  3. A day of 24 hours.



  1. To peel off.

Extensive Definition

A bong, also commonly known as a water pipe, is a smoking device, generally used to smoke cannabis, tobacco, or other substances. The construction of a bong and its principle of action is similar to that of the hookah, which is also called "water pipe". Smoking a bong contrasts with smoking a pipe or cigarette in two major ways: bongs cool the smoke before it enters the user’s lungs (making it easier to smoke), and a large amount of smoke is inhaled quickly as opposed to the smaller, more frequent, inhalations of pipe and cigarette smoking.


The word bong is an adaptation of the Thai word baung ( /bɔːŋ/), a cylindrical wooden tube, pipe, or container cut from bamboo, and which also refers to the bong used for smoking. Bongs have been in use, primarily by the Hmong, in Laos and Thailand, for centuries. One of the earliest recorded uses of the word in Western literature dates to a piece in the January 1971 issue of the Marijuana Review. An even earlier reference, the McFarland Thai-English Dictionary, published in 1944 describes one of the meanings of bong in the Thai language as, "a bamboo waterpipe for smoking kancha, tree, hashish, or the hemp-plant."


To use a bong, the base of the bong pipe is filled with water or other liquids. While alcoholic beverages or oils can be used in a bong, both of these substances filter out some of the THC when the bong is used for smoking marijuana, because THC is fat-soluble and, to a lesser extent, alcohol-soluble. THC is not water-soluble, which makes water a good choice of fluid for filling a bong. The substance to be smoked is packed into the bowl and ignited.
The user places his/her lips inside the mouthpiece, forming a seal, and inhales, causing the flame to be drawn toward the substance. An inhalation is known as a "hit", "pull" or "rip." As the user inhales, the flame is drawn towards the substance, igniting it, and the smoke which is produced travels through a hollow pipe that is attached to the bottom of the bowl. The pipe enters via an airtight stem into a vessel containing water.The smoke rises through the water, which cools the smoke, and then the smoke is trapped in the air chamber above the water. At the side (or back) of the bong, above the water level, there is usually a small air hole (nicknamed the "carburator" or "carb"), the user covers with a finger until they believe that a sufficient amount of smoke has accumulated. After the smoke is inhaled into the lungs, the "carb" is used to introduce fresh air into the bong. Not all bongs use a carb, many of the high end models have a removeable bowl piece which works the same as a carb. These are usually seen on glass bongs that sometimes have glass on glass connections. The fresh air introduced through the "carb" hole helps to cool the smoke further. If the smoker is using a larger bong, with a larger bowl, the first hit contains little or no smoke. The purpose of taking the first inhalation is to draw the clean air out of the chamber and to start drawing in smoke from the bowl.

Comparison with other smoking methods

Bong advocates claim that the cooling of the smoke helps to reduce the chance of burning the mouth, airways, and lungs. The water can trap some heavier particles and the more water-soluble molecules, preventing them from entering the smoker's airways. While smokers tend to believe that bongs are less damaging than other smoking methods, a 2000 NORML-MAPS study found that "water pipes filter out more psychoactive THC than they do other tars, thereby requiring users to smoke more to reach their desired effect". Smoke from cannabis supplied by the NIDA was drawn through a number of smoking devices and analyzed. A smoking machine, adjusted to mimic the puff length of cannabis smokers, drew smoke through a standard bong, a small portable bong with a folding stem, a bong with a motorized paddle that thoroughly mixes the smoke with the water, and two different types of vaporizers.
However, MAPS reviewed a study that examined the effects and composition of water-filtered and non-filtered cannabis and tobacco smoke. It found that when alveolar macrophages, an important component in the lungs' immune system, were exposed to unfiltered smoke, there was a marked reduction in the macrophages' ability to fight bacteria, whereas there was no such reduction in those exposed to water-filtered smoke. It also found that there is substantial epidemiological evidence among tobacco smokers that those who smoke through water-pipes, as opposed to cigarettes, cigars, and regular pipes, have lower incidences of carcinoma. "It appears that water filtration can be effective in removing components from cannabis smoke that are known toxicants... The effectiveness of toxicant removal is related to the smoke's water contact area. Specially designed water pipes, incorporating particulate filters and gas-dispersion frits, would likely be most effective in this regard; the gas-dispersion frit serves to break up the smoke into very fine bubbles, thereby increasing its water-contact area." This study suggests that a bong's smoke is less harmful than unfiltered smoke.


The ice bong is a type of "slide" or carburetor bong made of glass or acrylic which has a twist or ice trap in the neck where ice can be added. The ice cools the smoke when the user inhales. These bongs are typically produced in bright colors, and they often have carburetor holes on the opposite side to the bowl or slightly to the left or right of that position. These tend to have larger chambers than other bong varieties, as ice is used rarely in smaller bongs.
A bubbler is a small bong where the stem is internal and the bowl is at the very top. Most of the bong is enclosed, with only a hole in the side to act as the carburetor. These operate very much like a pipe, since their internal chamber is so small, but they have identical parts to a typical bong. They are considered more pleasant to smoke out of than a regular pipe because the smoke is cooled through the water. They also do not produce the characteristic "chugging" sound of bongs when the smoke is inhaled.
A vaporizer-bong, or "vapor-bong," uses a box-type vaporizer or heat gun to heat up the substance that is being smoked. The vapor goes through the attachment, filters through the water, and passes through a layer of ice.
A shottie (also called a "pull-through" or "popper") is a bong made out of a plastic bottle which replaces the bowl and stem with a tube. To use a "shottie", a small piece of tobacco is placed into the end of the tube, which is then stamped into a patch of finely ground hash or marijuana. The user then lights the substance and gently inhales, slowly filling the chamber, and then inhales violently to pull the ash and unburnt tobacco ball into the water.
A gravity bong (also known as "gravs", "g-bong", "GB", "waterfall", of "plunger") uses water to generate a slow and constant vacuum in the chamber. These bongs tend to be homemade devices using large plastic bottles and buckets filled with water. Water percolates in a gravity bong by attaching a tube from the bowl piece, through the cap in the bottle, down to the water. In a waterfall bong, a small capped-off hole is cut on the side, which makes it easier to fill the bong with water and create the vacuum.
A bong may be constructed from any air- and water-tight vessel by adding a bowl and stem apparatus (a slide); there are reports of such things as videogame controllers or even human skulls being used as bongs.


bong in Bulgarian: Бонг
bong in Czech: Bong
bong in Danish: Bong
bong in German: Bong
bong in French: Pipe à eau
bong in Italian: Bong
bong in Hebrew: באנג
bong in Lithuanian: Bongas
bong in Dutch: Bong
bong in Norwegian: Bong
bong in Low German: Bong
bong in Polish: Fajka wodna
bong in Portuguese: Bong
bong in Russian: Бонг
bong in Simple English: Bong
bong in Finnish: Vesipiippu
bong in Swedish: Bong (rökdon)
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